Bryce Hall, a massively popular TikToker with over 14 million followers on the platform, was caught physically fighting waitstaff at a restaurant on Monday after an alleged dispute over his vape pen and credit card.
According to a TMZ report, workers at a restaurant called Cinco in Los Angeles claimed a fight broke out after one employee asked the TikToker to stop hitting his vape pen. Smoking and vaping are prohibited in LA restaurants and bars.
Cinco employees told TMZ that Hall and his friends were the first to make physical contact, initiating a full-out brawl.
Hall, however, told BuzzFeed News the initial report is "missing a lot of context" and said tensions rose when he claimed employees would not give his credit card back so he and his friends could leave. Hall also claimed the restaurant manager "grabbed" him first in an attempt to physically shove him out of the establishment.
A man named Dylan Lowenstein, who witnessed the fight and had the recorded cellphone footage that TMZ published, told BuzzFeed News "one of the workers put his hands on [Hall]" first.
BuzzFeed News has made repeated attempts to reach Cinco for comment.
While it's still unclear what led up to the fight, here's what we know so far.
On Monday, Hall was dining in the restaurant patio area with a few friends, including fellow Sway House member and TikToker Griffin Johnson. Hall told BuzzFeed News he did have a vape pen that he was illegally taking hits from but said that was not what prompted the fight.
"The version of the story that is being portrayed is missing a lot of context and isn’t who I am," said Hall in a lengthy email statement.
"I did vape in the outdoor seating area of the restaurant. However, when the manager approached me and requested I leave, I obliged and asked for my card that was being held with my table," he continued. "I had to ask for it well over ten times — I still don’t have the card back — and he said, 'No, get the fuck off the property'."
Hall alleged the manager grabbed him to "pull [him] out" of the establishment, which triggered contact from both parties, and then his friends and multiple restaurant employees got involved.
"[The manager] grabbed me and tried to pull me out so I threw his hand off and said, 'Don’t touch me, what’re you doing?' and he proceeded to grab me again," said Hall. "Then my friend walked in the middle of us to stop the comotion [sic] and the two of them started pushing each other. I put my hand in the middle and tried to stop it. The manager then proceeded to tackle my friend to the ground and that’s when I got on top of him and put him in a head lock in an attempt to get him to stop fighting."
Hall said at this point other employees jumped into the fight and one of them kicked him.
Lowenstein, the witness, confirmed to BuzzFeed News Hall's version of events. However, he said he wasn't seated close enough to their table to "exactly hear what was going on."
"Originally I thought they were being cut off from drinking, but apparently [the staff employees] were telling them to leave," said Lowenstein. He noted that he had no idea who Hall or his friends were, or that some of them were TikTok famous.
"One of the workers put his hands on [Hall] — that's when one of his buddies got involved and that's when it turned into a fight," said Lowenstein. "They were all on the floor. I know Bryce got kicked when he was on the ground."
According to TMZ, anonymous sources said it was Hall who threw the first punch and was "continuing to brawl until other staffers broke it up." Sources also alleged Hall "blew smoke in a staffer's face" when he was asked to stop vaping.
Hall denied blowing vape smoke in anyone's face that evening. "That’s a total fabrication," he told BuzzFeed News.
Lowenstein told BuzzFeed News he jumped into the brawl in an effort to "de-escalate," and at one point tried to hold the TikToker back. He can be seen in the cellphone footage in the maroon shirt (the person he was dining with was the one recording).
"The whole restaurant was yelling at Bryce and his friends. I told the guys, 'Let’s go walk outside' ... Bryce and all of them, they said, ‘We just want our credit card and we’ll leave,' but the restaurant wasn’t releasing their credit card. We had a conversation [and] I said, ‘Be the bigger person and walk away from this.’"
He then direct-messaged Hall on Instagram later that day, applauding him for "being the bigger man in the situation."
The 21-year-old TikToker has been the subject of controversies and questionable decisions before.
Officers noted the party drew "several hundred guests" amid the pandemic, and viral videos taken inside their LA home showed most people were not wearing masks or social distancing.
Hall and Gray are facing up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.
The history of questionable behavior has made Hall a target for ridicule and angry reactions online.
"Lmao bro fuck bryce hall and all the tik tok houses," one person tweeted. "As soon as logan paul became Irrelevant, Bryce hall stepped in and replaced him with almost no discrepancies," another weighed in.
People began immediately trolling the comments of his latest thirst trap on TikTok with comments like "Imagine beating up a waiter cause you can't vape."
But Hall maintains that the narrative about the fight that's gone viral is "categorically false."
"This is a matter of moral clarity, not about protecting my name. It isn’t who my mom — a single mother who has only love in her heart — raised me to be," he said in his statement.